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Monday, April 22, 2013

Give It To Me Now!

Do you remember Veruca Salt?  She was that awful spoiled brat from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie with Gene Wilder.  And Veruca wanted a golden ticket, and she wanted it NOW and she didn't care how she got it.  She just knew she wanted it...NOW.

I feel the same way when I feel discontent or unhappy.  I want change, and I want it the way I want it, when I want it, how I want it, and I want it NOW.  And I'm grumpy and out of sorts and irritable and demanding, of myself and others, needing, wanting, and expecting something new and different.

The only thing is, is that it never, ever successfully works out that way.  Simply demanding that the universe, and the people in it, suddenly create a new reality for me, doesn't seem to yield a new reality for me at all.  And after a while, after I've had my internal tantrum, certain I deserve more and better and easier, and I've exhausted myself  by flying to the land of expectations with nothing but my dreams as wings, I calm down like a little kid worn out from the drama.

And then I start actually thinking about my life, and the discontent I feel, and what I might actually do about it.   I can think of plans and changes to make, and details I can shift that might lead to a different outcome.  But I try not to do too much of that.  When my life is full of discontent, I try, after throwing my fits, to go within, and sit with myself, and understand the seed of discontent.

What seed has taken root in the garden of my heart and mind, my life, and why is it bearing the fruit of discontent?  Why have I nurtured this seed and given it room to grow?   I don't try to simply eradicate it like some unwanted weed.  Because it is there, and I have nurtured it and I have given it room to grow, and I want to pay attention, follow the fruit back to the branches and back to the seed and back to the roots.  Because it's not an accident or mistake that it's there, and it requires my attention.

And the big question: what do I do about it?  Do I cultivate this plant, eradicate it, treat it with pesticide or pull it up by the roots? I have no idea.  And I'm surprisingly ok with not knowing .  I'm fine with not being the absolute expert on every thought and feeling and even every word and action that shows up in my life.

But I do know enough to know when it's time to sit down, and shut up, and open myself up to G*d's wisdom, and to simply seek guidance and comfort.  It's not the kind of seeking where I ask G*d to do something specific, or offer supplication or praise or any of the standard approaches of religion.  It's simply sitting in G*d's lap and being embraced by love, being bathed in G*d's light, being quiet in G*d's presence, and let whatever needs to come, come to me.

It works for me every single time.  Every time I'm uncertain or unsure or agitated, I come back to this place, and everything seems to sort itself out.  I know surrender isn't a super-popular concept, being perceived as somehow weak or psychologically lacking in strength, but surrendering in this place of great comfort relieves my own internal discomfort.  And it's in that healing experience, having been relieved of my discomfort, that possibilities re-emerge, that opportunities become clear, and that the right kind of change reveals itself to me.

The gifts of the spirit must be received, not demanded, and developing that spiritual posture, of being receptive to G*d's love, comfort and wisdom, is more effective than Veruca Salt ever was.

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